We at itgroove have a client that we can’t name – too cool for school as it were… However, we can tell you a little about them and one way they utilize SharePoint and Nintex in a very cool way.
This company is a Reinsurance Company that specializes in Weather/Catastrophe insurance. They make money by selling Insurance based on weather patterns. Their actuaries thus need to analyze trends regarding weather to come up with the premiums to charge. This means processing a HUGE amount of data, over a short burst, making a decision based on that data and then throwing that data away (they process Terabytes of information). In short, “disposable SQL Servers” are created.
Using SharePoint 2010, Nintex Workflow and a little help from itgroove, a solution exists that accommodates the following:
- The modeler guy or gal goes to SharePoint and requests a new SQL Server to be created, to meet a certain spec. In short, a SharePoint list/InfoPath Form that asks:
- Who is this for?
- How much RAM and Disk Space does this “temporary” SQL Server need?
- Once the form is submitted a workflow is kicked off that:
- Gets approval for this new system from the modelers manager
- Using PowerShell, Nintex is used to launch the creation of a new Virtual Machine running SQL to the users spec
- Once the virtual machine is ready, an email is sent to the requester notifying them that they are good to go – go ahead and beat the crap out of that machine
- A follow up task is assigned to the user to notify when they are done with the virtual server, so its resources can be returned to the pool (sometimes, dozens of these servers can be built and nuked in a week)
[Ok. Honesty Insert Here – The modeler doesn’t have to get approval, nor is a task assigned to have the virtual machine destroyed – but that would be the easy part, in this otherwise very real setup. Those are things I would do to improve the process … but not everyone listens to me. I can’t even get my dog to listen to me… ]
Yep, that’s badass. Virtual Servers built by a workflow process, initiated from SharePoint. Ya, we helped them do that.